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Sometimes you walk out of a movie theater and are inspired to be a better person. Maybe you want to be a better friend, a better spouse or a better athlete, but after seeing The Odd Life of Timothy Green, I wanted to be a better parent.
As a parent, I know children are miracles. Most people, parents or not, would agree that a child is a gift. Jim (Joel Edgerton) and Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner) want a child of their own more than anything in the world. After exhausting all medical avenues of conceiving, they’re left with the dreams of what their child would be like. Depressed and defeated, Jim decides they should share their dreams with each other and then bury them and move on with their lives.
So the Greens do what a lot of expectant parents have done, they dream about their ideal child. What would your kids be like if all of your dreams came true? Jim whips out his trusty Stanley pencil and records their dreams: honest to a fault, our kid would score the winning goal, the kid would rock, he’d be Picasso with a pencil, etc. After writing these traits down Jim places the slips of paper in a box and they bury it in the garden as a sort of memorial to their child that they never had the chance to have and love.
Now the unbelievable happens, a storm rolls in and Timothy (CJ Adams), mysteriously appears on their doorstep covered in mud and leaves. While the mud washes off, the Greens soon discover that the leaves are a part of Timothy. The young man is obviously different but his parents go out of their way to make his life as normal as possible. Timothy leaves an impression on everyone in the small town of Stanleyville with his unique perspective on life.
Overall Impression: This is a great movie that tells a moving story with the infamous Disney magic. My husband and I were fortunate and never had conception issues but we know we were blessed with our children. Throughout my pregnancy and even now as the parent of a 2 and 3.5 year old, I wonder what our kids will be like as they’re older. I could totally relate to the Green’s dreams of a child that would be athletically and musically talented and honest but not perfect. I love that there’s also a “be careful what you wish for”, message in those dreams.
One of my favorite parts of the story involved how the writer/director, Academy Award nominated Peter Hedges, focused on how a child, Timothy, can bring such wisdom to adults, especially parents. The great part of this story are the lessons Jim and Cindy learn from Timothy. They say children make adults young again and its true. Kids amaze us with their view of people and the world, their innocence, optimism and their honesty which is exactly what Timothy does with everyone he meets. There’s a scene where Timothy is playing soccer without success and the Coach asks him why he’s smiling, his response “I can only get better.”
He’s right, and while some were crying as the movie ended I was smiling because the movie inspired me. It reminded me as a parent, my children are gifts that should be treasured and I can always be a better person and parent. I went home after the film and hugged my children a little longer, because I was reminded our children are only young for a short time.
I can’t say it any better than the film’s Director,
“This film has made me look at the joys of being a parent, and reminded me that the best we can hope for as parents is to make new mistakes,” Peter Hedges.